2 Dr. Mary El-Mereedi Graduate Research Advisor 313 Administration BuildingPhone:
3 What is a Dissertation?A dissertation addresses a problem or a question.A dissertation advances an argument by identifying a thesis and supporting it with evidence and logic.Your argument should be relevant and timely.It debunks a myth;corrects a misconception;enters a debate, or challenges a popular interpretation
4 The Basic Requirements A Dissertation MUST be:An ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION to the fieldSIGNIFICANTBe prepared to explain the significance of you topic compellingly.You should be able to answer the following two questions thoroughly and concisely:My dissertation will address the following question: ____.It will fill the following gap in the literature: ____.
5 First Things First Title Page Declaration of Originality Abstract Dedication (optional)Acknowledgements (optional)Table of ContentsList of Abbreviations (if applicable)List of Tables (follow your format guideline)List of Figures (follow your format guideline)
6 Abstract vs. Introduction The Abstract is NOT an introduction to your research.It is a very short summary of the research meant to tell a potential reader searching for scholarly material on a given topic if this is what he/she is looking for.The abstract is typically between words which will force you to rigorous about the priorities of your research.It is often easier to write a good abstract at the very end
7 Chapter One: The Introduction A good Introduction should:Set out the aims and objectives of the researchThe context of the work (Background)Your reasons for engaging with the topicYou want to get a handle on this as early as possible, so you don’t ask yourself 40 pages in, what is this about?A detailed exegesis (unpacking) of the title which may include explanations of certain word choices, coined phrases, terminology, etc.
8 Chapter One (continued) Should state your specific research questionsYou may find it helpful to discuss each question/sub-question separately, spending a couple of paragraphs on each question (As you are writing these up, keep in mind that you will be re-visiting them in the conclusion to show how you have answered them)It is a very good practice to closely review chapter one after you have finished writing the dissertationShould discuss limitations and delimitationsMust address the impact of lack of time, resources, space etc.
9 Chapter Two: Literature Review The literature review is where you outline the previous work on the topic.Organize your literature review in a way that will inform the imperial work to comeOrganizing your lit review requires careful thought and planningA lit review must be comprehensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to include everything written on the topicFocus on literature that has been well-researched rather than work that is over reliant on secondary sources
10 Chapter Two (continued) Avoid organizing your lit review in the order in which you came across the material (THIS IS A COMMON MISTAKE)Start with providing an appropriate historical discussion.Include the first major work(s) in the fieldYou may need to address different “schools of thought”Show how subsequent work has contributed, modified the topicLead up to where current research has left offIdentify the gaps in the current research, andEnd with where your research will fit in to help address these gaps.Remember, the lit review is NOT a summary of a collection of the articles you have read.
11 Chapter Three: Methodology The task of the methodology chapter is to spell out in EXACT detail the specific choices made for the methods used, andTo justify your methodological choicesIt is the norm to include some references to support your methodological choicesDo NOT give a lit review of various methodologies used in your field (i.e. a discussion of qualitative vs. quantitative methodology)
12 Chapter Three (continued) In essence, chapter three is a “zoom in” of your approach to answering the research question(s)Should include a discussion of your research strategy (quantitative, qualitative, mixed method)Your research design (experimental, quasi-experimental) This is where it will help to have a research methodology expert on your committeeSurvey method (survey, phone, questionnaire, etc.)InstrumentationValidity and Reliability IssuesConsent and ethical considerationsSample populationGeneralizabilityBiasesAs you write this chapter, you should be answering the following:How exactly will the data be collected? Justify.How will it be coded (if applicable)?Where will the data be stored/filed/destroyed?How will it be analyzed? What statistical techniques? JustifyWhat instruments will be used? Justify.
13 Chapter Four: Findings and Discussion You may want to report on the findings separately before the discussion of the results, orYou may want to discuss the findings as you report the resultsEither way, you should clearly explain which approach you takeClear sub-headings will help keep you organized
14 Chapter Five: Conclusion The conclusion is generally based on re-visiting the research questionsYou are succinctly answering the research questions with support from the results and findings in chapter four.You should also address what’s nextPractical implicationsQuestions for further researchMost importantly, DO NOT attempt to answer any new questions in the conclusion
15 Last but not Least References Appendices IRB, ACOUC, IBC APA, MLA, CHICAGO, AMA, IEEEMust be Consistent ThroughoutKnow what is used in your discipline and GET THE HANDBOOK!AppendicesIn Order of Appearance in the TextIRB, ACOUC, IBCApprovals are required by QU and by ProQuestResearch Cannot be Published Without These Approvals
16 Still not Finished! Similarity Index Approval TAD Approval from Graduate StudiesSubmission to ProQuest, Library Repository
17 Tips for Dissertation Success Set deadlines early on in the processAsk for feedback early, and oftenFind out what your committee wants and expects from youBut remember that this is YOUR dissertationTake breaks when you need it to rejuvenate yourselfRead everything you canCelebrate your accomplishments as you goKnow that you can finish!
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